A/N: Welp, this idea was bound to show up, might as well give it a go. I had the idea stuck in my head ever since finishing the game so I figured I might as well write it down. Depending on how I feel about it, it may end up being just a one shot.
Borderlands 2 – New-U
Chapter 0 – Rerouting
How long had she been like this? She had stopped counting long ago. Caught somewhere between life and death, she often wondered if she was still human. Trapped within the cold steel walls of the confinement chamber, she had spent countless hours by herself. The constant hum of the machines pulling energy from her had made her question her humanity more and more with each passing day. Through her powers, she found comfort in watching the wild world of Pandora from one of Hyperion's surveillance satellites. The time she had spent with her consciousness in that satellite would often exceed the time she spent in her real body, so much that she eventually considered her a kind of sentient AI.
And then one day, they had come to Pandora.
Vault Hunters, they had been called. She had been ordered to watch them and to guide them to the Vault. They called her the Guardian Angel, which she found funny for how close to her name it ended up being. Everything had gone downhill from there. Once Atlas had been pushed off the planet by the Vault Hunters, Hyperion had immediately come and started mining operations for eridium. The four Vault Hunters had been forced to deal with the army, who had lead a mass genocide across Pandora, killing anyone who they deemed to be "bandits". It became her job to lead the new Vault Hunters Hyperion had hired towards bringing down Sanctuary, the last bastion of the Pandoran resistance.
And she had. Slowly manipulating their actions, she had led the new Vault Hunters to Wilhelm and to the corrupted power core. Lieutenant Davis had been so happy when they brought that core to him. It would mean that Sanctuary would be safe from Hyperion bombardments for good. His elation turned to horror as the core brought down the shields. He would be vaporized within seconds by the awaiting bombardment.
The Vault Hunters had lost all trust in her at that moment. She could almost feel their disgust through the ECHOnet. Though the city of Sanctuary survived the lunar bombardment thanks to Lilith, it had not been without casualties. And the individuals whom she had come to consider her friends, who trusted her, albeit hesitantly, no matter how distant she was to them, had hated her with every fiber of their beings. Though she blamed herself for doing this to them, she also blamed the one who forced her into doing it.
She no longer considered him her father. When she had stopped calling him that, she had no idea, but it didn't seem like he had noticed either. She used formal terms like 'sir' or simply referred to him by his strange nickname. She had come to care little for the man. But no matter how she tried, she could not shake the memories of how she ended up in this prison-like space.
A nine year old girl sat in the living room of the quaint little house belonging to John and Mary Xanders. John was a hard working engineer for the massive Hyperion Corporation and Mary was a lawyer for the same company. For a nine year old, Angel Xanders was rather skinny, deathly pale, her hair never seemed to lay flat, and her eyes glowed with a strange blue light. As a kid she had hated her appearance. Other children at school made fun of her looks, especially the marks that wound around her left arm and leg, calling her names like monster and freak. Unknown to her, since her birth, her parents had toiled away, trying to figure out what medical condition might have induced these marks. They always distanced themselves, for fear it was somehow contagious. A young looking lady approached the small girl who was playing with her toys in this quiet living room.
"Come, Angel. It's time to see the doctor."
The child frowned, pouting up at the lady.
"But mommy, I don't wanna. He's mean!"
Her mother gave an exasperated sigh, closing her eyes and rubbing them with her fingers in a slow and practiced motion.
"Honey, the doctors need to figure out what's wrong with you."
The girl continued to pout.
"I'm not sick! I feel fine!"
Mary let out a harsh breath. It had been a long day at work fighting with weapon design rights that the Maliwan Corporation claimed they owned. Those damned hippies and their incessant nagging did not improve her mood. She did not have time for such childish complaints.
"Young lady, you will do as your told. The doctor is waiting."
She grabbed Angel's arm, perhaps a bit harder than necessary, and began dragging the girl towards the door. The nine year old girl screamed and protested, struggling against her mother's grasp. Mary couldn't keep her temper anymore. She turned on the girl.
"Look at your arm! Your leg! You think that's normal? Your father and I have done everything, EVERYTHING we could to fix this! Now MOVE!"
She yanked on Angel's arm and there was a faint, almost inaudible popping noise. The young girl screamed in pain as her arm was dislocated from the force of the pull. Thinking the child was becoming belligerent, Mary whirled and smacked the girl across the face, leaving a bright red mark.
"I have HAD IT with you! MOVE!"
Mary tugged harder on the dislocated arm, causing the girl to scream out again. The young lawyer was about to turn around again when she felt a small hand against her side.
A shove, stronger than Mary had thought possible from the frail looking girl. Mary tumbled backwards out the front door and landed on the porch. Angel kneeled just inside the doorway, grasping her shoulder and sobbing, a faint blue-purple light radiating from her body. Mary staggered to her feet.
Angel's left arm glowed brightly, nearly blinding the lawyer. Then the door shut. Mary tried to unlock the electronic door but found that her home key didn't work. She pounded on the door.
"What did you do?! Let me in this instant!"
There was no reply, just the continued crying from inside. Her anger exploded
She gave the door a harsh kick that shook its very frame. There was a small scream from inside. The next moment, two turrets, the house's automated security system, rose from the floorboards of the porch. Their chambers spun, warming up as they issued a warning.
*Intruder detected. Please leave the premise.*
"Angel… honey? I'm sorry… let me in okay?"
*Open fire in 3…*
"OPEN THE DOOR YOU LITTLE B…"
The turrets fired. Thousands of bullets tore through Mary's body in a matter of seconds, thanks to Hyperion's accelerator technology. The sudden noise caused quite the commotion. A elderly neighbor had screamed when she saw the carnage. The ambulances came too late. It was later said that they only arrived to attempt to pick up the remains. There wasn't even enough genetic material left to attempt a reconstruction through the experimental New-U station, a highly unpredictable cloning technology still in development by Hyperion. John would come running, screaming something about his wife. He would then attempt to enter his house, only to be stopped by the police officers near the scene. The turrets were, after all, still active. John ended up breaking down not ten meters from where the remains of his wife lay, spattered across the concrete walkway. But Angel heard none of it, for she had passed out from shock after the turrets had issued their first warning.
The brutal death of the Hyperion lawyer was written off as an accident. An error in the security's programming, coupled with her dismissal of the turret's warning, had resulted in the turrets acting accordingly. It was said that the reports drove John to insanity, for it was he who had personally programmed his home's security. Secretly, he was later approached by Hyperion scientists who proposed a theory.
Angel was not sick. She was a Siren. One with the apparent ability to control electronics.
It was an unfounded guess that ended up being true. John didn't care though. He only heard one thing from the scientists: his little girl had killed his wife. He had the scientists build a chamber lined with every insulator Hyperion could get its hands on, in what would later prove to be a useless effort to seal her power. And in that cold isolated space, he placed his daughter. Afraid and unsure of her power, he could only do just that. That moment had haunted Angel ever since.
"Look, it's just like your own little castle! You'll be like a princess!"
Her father had smiled, smiled with those dead looking eyes.
"You'll have everything you want! Go on in."
She shook her head.
"I don't wanna! Where's mommy."
That had caused a change in John's eyes. They brightened with a fierce, insane light.
"M…mommy's gone far away, pumpkin. Now get in the chamber!"
And into that cold space she had been shoved. She had stopped asking about her mother on that day. And she stopped calling John father.
She had come to call it Phaseshift. As she spent the years sitting in that containment sphere, she gradually came to terms with her power. She likened it to hacking, but in reality, it allowed her to project her consciousness into other beings. She had tried to go into the mind of a nearby scientist once, but the constant noise of jumbled thoughts being sorted by the brain's higher processes had nearly made her pass out. And so, she stayed with the more organized programming of machines.
She found that she couldn't Phaseshift for long periods of time either. While she used it freely before the Vault on Pandora had been opened, she found she wasn't able to use it as much once Jack had forced her to start charging the key. She had guessed it had to do with interference from the pure eridium flowing through her system.
Angel knew the key was close to completion. After being connected to it for so many years, she could sense it reaching a maximum capacity. Frankly, it made her feel like vomiting. A process that normally took two hundred years being forced to completion in only five had caused the key to be highly unstable throughout the entire process.
And so, she had led the Vault Hunters to her very chambers and told them to destroy it all. Though hesitant at first, her desperate pleas had driven them to act. She refused to be a slave any longer. If she had to die to gain her freedom, then so be it. Anything to spite her former father.
The battle had been a fierce one. Jack did everything he could to kill the Vault Hunters right then and there. He had expended a large amount of company resources in that battle and eventually resorted to false pleas of mercy on his daughter. Angel had told them to ignore him as she pushed her mental limits, resupplying the Vault Hunters as they fought tooth and claw for their very lives.
And then, as suddenly as it had started, it was done.
She felt the charged energy of pure eridium leaving her body. Exhausted from the years of charging the Vault key, she fell from her platform. Roland rushed over, worry written all over his face. Lilith was yelling something, but her ears didn't seem to be working anymore. It touched her, that the very people she had betrayed could still show such concern for a person like her. Her breath felt dry as she spoke.
"Dad… I have to tell you something."
Surprised, Jack stopped raving in the background. Even the vault hunters paused, unsure of what was happening. Angel struggled as she felt her breath slipping away.
"You're an asshole."
A small triumph, but a triumph nonetheless. Unable to muster any more strength, she fell back against the raised platform of her containment chamber. Roland looked deeply troubled as he kneeled near her. Lilith hung back, tears forming in her eyes. The other four vault hunters stayed back as well, wary of more Hyperion loaders. She gave them a cheeky grin, one that she hadn't used since she was a child. She then closed her eyes and let the darkness overtake her.
She knew she would die ever since she started helping the vault hunters break down the various shields around chambers. But even so, she couldn't help wish that she had got to live like a normal girl. Her head felt clouded and her limbs like lead. She could do nothing but drift away into the blackness.
Then, somewhere in the empty space in her mind, a programmed voice echoed.
*Connecting to Hyperion New-U Station*
*Error: Terminal Damaged*
*Error: Terminal Not Found*
*Rerouting to nearest available terminal*
*Error: Backup Terminal Disabled*
*Terminal found, resuming process*
The young girl waited on baited breath, eyes closed and unsure what was happening. A minute passed. Then another. She was suddenly aware of an uncomfortable roughness against her bare arms. It was grainy and warm, it didn't take long for her to deduce that she was laying on the sands of Pandora. Carefully, she cracked her eyes open. She was in the shade of some building, the sun was overhead judging by the pinpricks of light shining through the makeshift metal roof. She blinked slowly.
"You alright there, missy?"
A young, male sounding voice came from above her. Suddenly, a face obscured by a fighter pilot's oxygen mask appeared in her line of sight, uncomfortably close. Startled, Angel let out a shriek as she pushed herself backwards, away from this strange creature. Her arms throbbed from disuse but the adrenaline drove away the pain. The figure had stumbled backwards from her reaction and fell, clumsily, onto his butt.
"Loggins! You givin' someone trouble again?"
A shrill cry came from inside the building. The person got off the ground and dusted himself off. His masked head turned towards the building.
"No, ma'am! I thought this person was dead or something!"
The voice called out again, closer this time.
"Well course she's alive! Tha's the New-U Station ain't it? Now git back to work before I kick yer skinny ass!"
The man named Loggins ran off. The ground vibrated slightly as another person approached. Angel turned to face the largest woman she had ever seen. She was wearing overalls with metal plated straps over a bright orange T-shirt that looked as big as Angel was tall.
"You alrigh' girly? Name's Ellie and this here's my shop. I see you've met my useless helper."
Angel simply nodded, still looking startled. Her breath still came in ragged gasps as she tried to calm her racing heart.
"Looks like you've never used one of these before."
The girl gradually found her voice.
"I… No I haven't."
"Yer lucky. Most folks around here can't afford these stations. Those Hyperion bastards probably set all of them up as a joke. Only people I see usin' them are them Vault Hunters."
The young Siren nodded.
"Yeah… I guess."
Ellie frowned. The small girl was staring just past her head, eyes out of focus.
"What's the matter with you? You hit yer head or somethin'?"
Angel shook her head. All this was happening so fast, she hadn't quite come to terms with it just yet.
"I… I was supposed to die…"
The big woman suddenly scowled.
"Don't tell me you killed yerself for kicks? What do you take money fer anyway?"
Angel waved her arms and shook her head vigorously. The action made her head spin a bit.
"N-no! I was killed… I wasn't even aware I had my DNA in this system!"
She held her head in pain as she squeezed her eyes shut. Ellie smiled in a sudden mood change.
"Well, looks like someone cared enough fer you to do so"
Still confused, Angel tried to make sense of the situation.
"But… I don't have any money on me."
Equally confused, Ellie offered an answer.
"Maybe yer folks paid for it?"
The contemplating Siren looked down, face darkening.
"I doubt it. They'd sooner have me killed."
"Man, that sounds like them Hodunk pissants. They tried to do that to my ma. Well anyway, let's git you inside. Don't wanna stay out here too long, it's friggin' hot!"
She reached down to help the girl up. As she did, she caught sight of Angel's left arm.
"Hey…! Yer one of them Siren's ain'tcha?"
Angel suddenly snatched her hand back, causing her to fall back onto the sand. She grabbed her arm defensively. Ellie looked amused.
"Woah there, honey! No need to be afraid. I was just sayin'"
The Siren remained wary. Her eyes darted towards the desert, calculating how far she could go before dying of thirst. She looked back at Ellie.
"You're not going to turn me in to Hyperion are you?"
"Do I look like I have any love for them pricks?"
Angel got to her feet shakily.
"For yer information, you're the third Siren I've seen now. Most folks don't even get to see one! Man, I must be pretty lucky!"
Angel perked up at this. She spoke hesitantly.
Ellie shifted slightly, causing her enormous bosom to sway.
"Well sure! That Maya chick came through here with those other three ruffians a while back. Then there's this Lilith girl, comes around every once in a while to check up on me for Moxxi."
Upon hearing those names, Angel stepped forward, almost bumping into Ellie.
"You know them? Where are they? Are they safe?"
Ellie laughed, a loud barking laugh that echoed slightly in the vast desert.
"Hold yer horses, missy! They're alive, 's far as I know. But I don't even know yer name, why should I tell you where they are?"
The young girl looked slightly relieved.
"They made it out then…"
Ellie frowned slightly.
"They yer friends?"
Angel paused, unsure of the answer. Though she had tried to redeem herself in their eyes, she still couldn't bring herself to call them that. She gave a hesitant response.
"I… don't know."
Ellie bent down, as far as she could, and stared closely at Angel, making her feel extremely uncomfortable.
The large woman let out a long sigh.
"You seem alright. I'll tell ya, 's not like you can get there in one piece anyway."
Angel cocked her head slightly in confusion. The woman continued.
"Last I heard they was heading off to some Hyperion place. Somethin' about the Vault key and whatnot? I hear they got that Zer0 person to dress up like Jack, voice and all! Man, I wish I coulda seen that. That Zer0 always seemed way too uptight…"
Ellie trailed off. She peered at the girl again. The skinny girl looked sad and a bit worried.
"Oh… I just came from there…"
Ellie looked a bit puzzled but chose not to press the issue. She walked over to the Fast Travel. She scrolled through the menu.
"Well, if you know them, you might as well wait for them in Sanctuary. No way they're gonna git themselves killed. Here, put yer hand on the panel, it should take you to Sanctuary."
Angel touched the panel hesitantly.
Ellie turned to Angel, a suspicious look on her face.
"You sure you know them?"
"I've never used one of these before…"
"Nonsense. You didn't walk everywhere did you? Here, let's try a nearby Travel point."
Several minutes of trying to use the Fast Travel exhausted every outpost option. Even that silly robot's place seemed to be inaccessible to the girl.
"Well, shoot. Looks like yer gonna have to walk there… I can lend you a car, but that will only take you so far."
Angel looked at the Fast Travel teleporter.
"Maybe I can hack it."
She placed a hand on the machine and concentrated, trying to enter the meditative trance that allowed her to transfer her consciousness. The symbols on her arm glowed as she activated her power. She suddenly pulled back, a pained expression on her face. Ellie gave her a concerned look.
"You alright? What happened?"
Angel took several breaths before speaking again.
"Too much traffic, it's too noisy in there."
The large woman laughed.
"Well, yeah, people use that thing all the time! It IS a network you know?"
Angel sighed, discouraged.
"Guess I'll take that offer on the car then."
The woman nodded. She gestured at Angel.
"You don't look like you had much with you huh?"
Angel shook her head sadly.
"I thought I was dead for good."
There was a pregnant pause as the girl stared at her shoes. Here she was, in the middle of nowhere, with absolutely nothing. She had no idea if the Vault Hunters had made it out alive, nor if she could even make it to Sanctuary on her own. Ellie suddenly scooped the skinny girl into a massive bear hug, shocking her out of her misery.
"Aw, honey, I don't know what kind of life you had, but it'll git better soon. Roland and his friends are gonna set this straight."
Though she was suffocating, Angel smiled. And though she smelled like sweat and motor oil, it was a comforting feeling, one she never had in her life. After being set down, she followed Ellie into the shop. Ellie grabbed a backpack and started tossing in some meal bars, a blanket, and some other supplies. Loggins had wandered over as this was happening. He watched as Ellie grabbed an ECHO communicator and toss it into the pack.
"Hey! Those are mine!"
"Yeah, well just think of it as compensation for being paid to stand around all the time!"
Loggins gave up the argument pretty quickly. Ellie handed the backpack to Angel, who accepted it quietly. She the tossed her a roll of bandages. Angel looked questioningly at the woman.
"You's best keep that hidden. Plenty of bandits still lookin' for Sirens for that bounty."
As she spoke, Ellie gestured at the markings on Angel's arm. Complying, Angel covered up the markings. Then Ellie rummaged around in a nearby trunk and pulled out a beat-up Jakobs rifle. She tried to give this to the girl.
"I can't… don't you need it?"
"Girly, I don't know what kind of sheltered life you musta lived without seeing bandits, but if you go out there unarmed, yer gonna git yerself killed."
"I'll be fine! I've got others. Worst case, I throw Loggins at them and use a car turret. And besides, that gruff guy, what's his name, the crazy one with the mohawk…"
The woman nodded.
"Yeah, that's the one. He got drunk here while the others were taking a break. I think he forgot about it. This is actually his."
Angel nodded and gripped the barrel of the rifle.
"Now yer gonna want to head south, towards the Highlands. Sanctuary's still floating around there. Once you get there, ECHO me and I'll give them a call to let you in."
The girl nodded again, shouldering the pack. Her eyes felt slightly moist. She sniffed slightly, rubbing at her eyes.
"Thanks for everything, Ellie."
Ellie smiled and patted the girl on the head.
"Take care of yourself out there, girly."
A thought came to Angel and she addressed Ellie again.
"It's Angel. My name is Angel."
Ellie grinned and walked over to the Catch-a-Ride system.
"A pleasure to meet you, Angel. Say hi to Scooter for me will ya?"
Angel nodded before staring out into the Dust. What awaited her in this vast and brutal land? Sure she had seen it all before from the satellite feeds, but it always felt artificial, a mere image projected in front of her eyes of some fantastical land far away. Now it lay before her, foreboding yet alluring. She adjusted the backpack on her shoulders and gripped the weathered rifle in her bandaged hands. Without hesitating, she stepped into the driver's seat and drove out into this new world.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed it, leave a review and let me know how my writing is. Also, let me know if you by any chance would like to read more. Like I said, this is likely to be a one shot, but may become more depending on my time and inspiration. After all, there are a couple loose ends I can cover.
A couple notes. I'm unsure if it was mentioned specifically, but through the game, it seemed to me that Jack either didn't fully know or didn't care about Angel's Phaseshift ability, nor is it explained in any great detail, so I took a few liberties with how her ability was used in the game.
Oh and… Brat. Mary was definitely gonna say brat.